Boycott is defined as an act of withdrawal from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest. It is a word that we have been reading regularly on social media as it is an act being promoted by several users when it comes to products made in Guatemala. For some, it is a form of protest and it is an action that they hope will let the Guatemalan people and Government realize how much we have been a support to them via our spending power. One article posted on Facebook recently made reference to the stark difference in imports and exports as Guatemala receives over ninety million dollars annually from the products they import to Belize while in reverse Belize gets just over fifteen million dollars. The decision to boycott, however, is a personal decision and cannot be rendered by the Government as it would not bode well with the peaceful negotiations that Belize has been lobbying for. The question in this, however, is just how willing individuals would be to do so. One example that can be cited in all this was an trending post that evidently irked many persons on social media when the owner of a night club in Belmopan referred to the Belizean soldiers in a very derogatory manner and then added insult to injury by posting a picture of the Guatemalan flag. Comments were not lacking, condemning the woman and lobbying for a boycott of their business by the Belizean people. It was a short lived act or desire for solidarity as not even ten days later; the night club was well attended when the owner acted in what could be deemed as damage control and offered free drinks and entrance. Whether it was the owner’s fellow Guatemalan nationals that supported the business or the locals was not ascertained. With the Belize National Teachers Union lobbying for solidarity and pushing their campaign to stand up for Belize, Love News asked President Luke Palacio what his views are on the issue of boycotting Guatemalan products.
“We’d have to study it and then determine whether we endorse it or not but I think one of the key things that we want to bear in mind is that everybody is hoping that somebody will do something and when you keep on doing that then nobody does anything and when we do something you hear all kinds of stories or “maybe they should have done it this way.” the bottom line is that we need to make a start and if every person does the little bit that they can do to bring about the desired change based on love for country I think we’d be doing a great service to this nation. Some of those things would have to be an individual decision and that is why I believe as we continue with this “Stand up for Belize” campaign there is the need for Belizean history, Belizean civics, Belizean geography to be taught in our classrooms objectively. Why are we going to jump up around 10th of September and say we love Belize, we are patriotic and then the next two days it’s something else. We are saying to our children “love Belize” but then they don’t even, the whole matter of what our country is why should we love it, why should we care for it and we tend to individualize a lot of things. A certain name is called and then people get turned off, certain name is called and people jump up, it’s not helping us. So some of those things would have the be the individual person’s decision, obviously one would be the matter of economics. Those are realities and this discussion needs to be ongoing otherwise we will continue in this reactionary mode if you will.”
On Facebook, there is one woman who has been consistent in posting the products that are Guatemalan made and continues asking that Belizeans not purchase these items as their form of protest.